Travel: Carlo Scarpa's Brion-Vega Cemetery

The Modern House’s administrator, Rachel, recently took a trip to Northern Italy to explore Carlo Scarpa’s remarkable concrete cemetery.

She tells us about her trip:

“I never considered that I might have a favourite cemetery, but having visited Carlo Scarpa’s Brion-Vega Cemetery near Treviso in Northern Italy, I’m going to hand over the accolade.

“Scarpa was commissioned by the Brion-Vega family in 1968 to design a private burial ground, extending an existing village cemetery in San Vito di Altivole.

“The ingenuity in Scarpa’s work is most evident when you experience the poetic ways in which he engineers your movement through the cemetery; designed as a commentary on the journey from life to death. To reach the cemetery you ascend along wide, shallow steps, which slow you down and emphasise this feeling of progression.

“The cemetery is arranged over different levels, creating sites for private contemplation and ceremony. As you navigate your way through, the spaces shift with a sensitivity to scale and rhythm. To reach a meditation platform you have to step through a layered concrete corridor, wide enough for only one person, which looks back over the garden and across to the mountains in the distance. Genius.

“Scarpa has used every corner and juncture in the cemetery as an opportunity to add detail, or to frame his other structures and the surrounding landscape. It is one of the most alluring, and peaceful places I’ve ever been to.

“Scarpa explained in a memoir of his intention for visitors to picnic and drink wine in the cemetery, I’ll raise a glass to that.”